Nominations Open for ASTRA Excellence Awards

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) has opened nominations for the annual ASTRA Excellence Awards.

The awards recognize leading retailers, manufacturers, sales representatives, and young professionals who represent the best of the specialty toy industry, as nominated by the ASTRA membership.

The ASTRA Excellence Awards include:

  • Retailer of the Year;
  • Manufacturer of the Year;
  • Sales Rep of the Year;
  • Industry Innovator;
  • and Rising Star (Young Professional).

This year’s ASTRA Excellence Awards were to have been presented at the 2020 Marketplace & Academy in Orlando, which has since been canceled due to the spread of COVID-19. Winners are expected to be announced later this year.

ASTRA’s next Marketplace & Academy is scheduled to take place in Minneapolis from June 6-9, 2021. Information for registrants and exhibitors is available at COVID-19 resources for ASTRA members can be found at

Pictured top: Members of the Fat Brain Toys team, last year’s Manufacturer of the Year winners.

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.